good morning. welcome to "viewpoint" this morning. we are talking about mood disorders. we'd like to welcome our guests that are joining us today. we'll start with elizabeth shook from the depression and bipolar support alliance. also joining us is dr. andrew nuremberg with massachusetts general hospital. and rowberta toby. we ventured into the campaign of changing minds to take the stigma out of mental disorders and really try to connect people with the resources that they need to get on track to a happy
life, on to a track of wellness. so today we are talking about mood disorders. doctor, what exactly is a mood disorder? what defines that? >> so there are several types of mood disorders that are in two broad categories. people who have depression and people who not only have depression, but they have what's called mania or hypomania. depression is highly prevalent up to 17.5% of the population will have depression at some point in their lifetime. it is not only decreased mood but it's also insomnia, decreased interest feelings of guilt and low self-worth. decreased concentration, difficulty with moving either too little or too much. people can even have thoughts of suicide. >> is this something that affects a particular age or a particular group of individuals or where are we seeing the
prevalence of the mood disorders? a particular age category? >> it's across all age groups and it's increasing in the young. >> okay. roberta, can you tell me a little bit about how or why depression is not just -- it's not just a mood swing? this doesn't just happen every now and then, it may not be just because you're in a foul mood for the day. >> right it's not being in a bad mood, although we use the word mood disorder. depression and depressive -- the depressive cycle of bipolar tend to last a long time, at least two weeks. often many more weeks than that. splms they can go up to -- sometimes they can go up to three or four months, a period of feeling that andy just described. sometimes it can even go on for years. >> but let me ask you, how do i
know this is really depression? how do i know i'm dealing with a mood disorder? what if -- i don't know any better and i just think that i got up on the wrong side of the bed again and again and again and again? >> well, when you go -- when you have these depressive symptoms one hopes you get to the doctor to get some treatment because it is hard to know. so once you go and you can hopefully get a diagnosis, then this is how you find out that you truly have depression. is that what you're asking? >> correct. let me ask you, how intense can these mood changes be? >> they can be extremely intense. i can talk from personal experience having bipolar disorder and having extreme manic episodes that can last anywhere from days to weeks, some people even months which is more rare. but they can be extremely --
they're extreme highs that people experience and then you can have the extreme lows just as you said that can result in thoughts of suicide or attempts or successful suicide. >> how long, doctor, are the extreme highs, extreme lows and in what type of a free? sy experience the this? >> it can last up to four months if left untreated. you can shorten that substantially with appropriate treatment and frequently it comes back. >> we also want to mention to everybody that as you're hearing all of this from experts in the field that we're going to post resources after each of our segments to get you in touch with organizations and people that can help in this area. let's talk more about the mood disorders and their treatment. if one begins to feel like this
may be a problem, what is my first line of defense, what should i go to? doctor? >> so when the mood is happening in such a way that it's interfering with your life, where it's causing a lot of distress, then people should start to seek treatment. and treatment can either involve medications or not, depending on the severity of the mood symptoms that people have. but also there are very good evidence-based talk therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy and other things like that. >> you would who you like to chime in on this? >> there are also alternative treatments. exercise and diet have a big impact on how you feel if you have a mood disorder. these kind of treatments are -- they have not been sufficiently explored in the research and i think that's something that needs to be further looked at.
>> mood boosters, right? most people tend to feel a lot better doctor, the science behind it when they're doing some type of aerobic type of activity. we get the surges of highs of adrenaline. >> oh, exercise can help a lot. for some people it can be sufficient. for most it won't be. >> thanks very much. stay with us. we'll have more of "viewpoint" after this.
we are continuing our efforts in changing minds and we're focused on mood disorders. here at nbc4 we spent a year and half trying to get people on the road to resources, taking the stigma out of mental illness. we have a panel of experts and we have been talking about what mood disorders are and one particular area we want to talk about is the mood network. roberta, that's an organization that you work with. tell me what the mood network is. what that does and doctor, i'll start with you. >> you mentioned that you're trying to reduce stigma and the way that we're trying to work together to do that is through a unique study and a unique type of collaboration called mood network.org. it's to bring people together so that they're not alone. so we can bring data together from people who have lived experience, and it's a collaboration with people with experience, clinicians and researchers and if we bring a
lot of data together we bring a lot of people together, we actually have the aspiration of having 50,000 people join us. then we think we can start to answer the question that patients have in order to make their lives together. >> when i go is it moodnetwork.org? >> yes. >> when i go to moodnetwork.org, what type of help can i get? am i hearing from physicians or other people that have dealt with mental illness? >> all of the above. moodnetwork is an interesting hybrid because it's a combination of a place where you can get information, you can find resources, you can learn about depression. you can ask questions about depression. but you can also offer your experience, tell your story of someone with depression or bipolar. you can fill out surveys to find out how you're doing. and you can also say these are the sorts of things i would like to see researched. so it's really -- it's a real give and take. it's not just you being part of
a study. it's really you collaborating with other people to find answers to the questions that you really want to have answers. >> i mean, there has to be strength in numbers when we're talking about mental illness. to make sure that people don't feel alone, that they are the only ones dealing with this. and my sense from this is that while they're there, while they're on moodnetwork.org, that they are seeing there are other people like me. there are other people that have those same symptoms as i do. they're going through the daily struggles that i thought i was the only one. >> not only that, they're also contributing data to try to get to the answers that are important to them, and that may make their lives better. >> okay. lizbeth, tell me about what dbsa does to partner with mood network. >> sure a little bit about what it is first of all it's the depression and the bipolar
support alliance. a national mental health organization that focuses on support and education. there are chapters all throughout the country and also like right here in the national capital area. so what we know about -- well, first of all dbsa is made up of people just like me, people who have a mood disorder. they live with mood disorder. and based on the lived experience, we know that people do and they can achieve wellness. and they can live extraordinary lives. but one of the issues is the challenges is that a lot of times getting the right treatment is based on luck and we want -- you know, that's what some of the people anyways have found. but we want it to be based on certainty for everyone. so that's where that we partner with the mood network, and why we think it's so important because this way people can be
part of helping to refine, to develop new treatments and so that's a wonderful thing that people with lived experience can be a part of it. >> lizbeth schuch with dbsa and roberto toby, doctor, thank you for being with us. we'll be right back with more of "viewpoint." after each of the segments we are offering resources to put you in touch to help you with mental illness.
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welcome back to "viewpoint." i'm joined by a panel of experts in the area of mood disorders. lizabeth i want to ask you about this because this is something you know all too well. you have dealt with bouts of bipolar disorder and depression. tell me when you first noticed or when you were first diagnosed with bipolar disorder and how it manifested into -- am i correct to say, depression? >> well i was diagnosed at age 17, so i had four hospitalizations in six years. after that, we seemed to find the right medication. >> 17 years old. do you understand what's going on? >> no. >> i mean, how difficult was that for you to try to comprehend as a teenager? >> at the time it was going on it was a manic episode so i
didn't know or feel to know because i was so manic. but once i got hospitalized and got the medication, i understood because i was told what it was, i did a lot of research. >> because you were feeling so great. >> yeah. yeah. why do you want to stop feeling so great? why do you want to go to the doctor for that? but it was obvious -- >> explain that to me. for people that don't know about this -- about the highs and the lows, how is it that you seek help for feeling so great? what is the extreme to that? >> what happens with mania is that you may start in a low level of mania of hypomania, but then if you cross into full blown mania, which is what happened to me, then you actually cross the line of i say it's when your judgment starts to get impaired. and also you're revved up and jumping from subject to subject, talking very fast and just doing things that are outside of your normal -- >> almost seem erratic? >> sure. yeah. impulsive and you know, i was
fortunate that i got to a doctor in time before anything really bad happened. >> when did depression set in? that was later for you. right? >> yeah, for me it didn't come until about 15 years ago and it really came as a result of going -- being taken off of the medication very abruptly. i'm someone who has always stayed on my medications and where people many do not. but that's something i have always done unless i was told by a doctor to be taken off. anyway that put me in a bad depression where i was on short term disability for a couple of months. but i have been able to maintain jobs throughout, you know, this whole time. but the symptoms of that is just really i say in my general functioning, not being able to function. can't get out of bed. feeling worthless, hopeless and i mean, i actually have always known that things will get
better, but you don't know how to get out of it, you know? not being able to concentrate. that's one of the hardest things and this goes on for -- it can go on for quite some time. >> roberta, you wanted to talk about the ability for people that are going through this to really connect with a network of individuals because when you're going through something like this, what you need to feel is like you are worth something, you do have something to contribute. >> yes, absolutely. i too have suffered not from bipolar, but from depression in my life. since i was -- i was diagnosed in my early 20s. and everything that lizabeth said is exactly -- is exactly right. you feel worthless. you feel hopeless. you don't necessarily feel that things will get better. and you sometimes think about ending things. it can be that severe. it can be very painful. it's a mental pain. if you will. the mood network which we have been talking about is unique in
that it's a collaboration between doctors and researchers and patients. all three are equal partners. that really does not happen very often. i think it's pretty much unprecedented. and if you are in a situation where you feel that your life has no value and that you have no power, you feel very unempowered, to be part of this kind of a collaboration where you know you're working towards making things better for people with depression and bipolar, it's tremendously validating. it gives you a sense of worth, of value, of meaning, in fact. so not only are you doing something of value to people with depression and bipolar, you are gaining something for yourself. you're experiencing your own strength and your own resilience and your own ability to make yourself better. >> we'll be back with much more of "viewpoint." stay with us.
welcome back to "viewpoint." here at nbc4 we continue with our campaign to change minds help take the stigma out of mental illness and help put people on a road to wellness and to resources. joining us a fantastic panel of experts. we thank you for your time. dr. nierenberg, people who have listened this and can associate with roberta's story can associate with lizabeth's story what do they need to do? do they wait do they say i'll just talk to my doctor at this next time i see them?
do i need to schedule an appointment today do i need to call somebody? what do people need to do? >> if people have not gotten treatment before and they're worried they have a mood network, they can join the mood network and take the test for the criteria. they should call their doctor to find out what they should be doing. at more importantly if they're having thoughts of suicide, of killing themselves, they should go to the emergency room. >> okay. re roberta, your final thoughts on the segment? >> if you're in crisis you do need to be treated right away. but i think it's important for people to remember they're not alone. that there are millions of people who feel this way, who go through these things. and at moodnetwork.org we are really committed to bringing all of us together to make it better. >> it has to be a collaborative effort. lizabeth, people can get help right here in the dmz.
>> yes. you know, i think that just in going along with this theme of you're not alone, aside from the national organization of dbsa partnering with the mood network, which is an incredible project that's going on, we do have our local chapters right here and so i'm part of the national capital area bipolar dbsa chapter. we have four different support groups. there's one in d.c., there's one in college park, there's one in rockville. and then we have one in bethesda. >> okay. >> so if you go to the website, like i said before, of the national organization dbs alliance.org you can find the chapters where they are. it's so nice to know that people aren't alone. people get a lot out of the support groups. >> lizabeth schuch, we appreciate your time.
roberta toby and dr. andrew nierenberg, with massachusetts general hospital. we appreciate your travels and thank you so much. i think the biggest take away for people watching this is you're not alone. there are people that identify with this and there are really valuable resources out there that you can have access to. it doesn't need to seem like it's an island away. correct? >> right, yes. >> excellent. thank you so much for joining us. we want to remind everybody we have been putting up valuable resources at the end of every segment. if any of this has resonated with you we have phone numbers and websites of people and organizations you can get in touch with to get the help you need. thanks so much for joinings on this "viewpoint" specializing in mood disorders. i'm erika gonzalez. thank you for joining us.
"news4 today" starts now. >> right now on "news4 today" we have our eye on storm team 4 radar where we're starting to see some relief after hours of severe weather. check this out, there was so much more of viewers sending us video. but this morning the big concern is flooding and adam, you have more on that. >> that's right. we saw record rainfall. here's another look at the severe weather that came through the area last night. the sun will come out today, right? chuck bell is tracking a father's day forecast which is going to be hot. >> the good news is